L: Change the World (2008)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||2008|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (95:26)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Hideo Nakata|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, final goodbye to L|
L: Change The World is a spin off sequel to the immensely successful Death Note movies. The film follows the exploits of L (Ken'ichi Matsuyama), the gangly, junk-food-addicted super-sleuth, immediately following the conclusion of the Death Note saga. Shrugging off the shackles of its progenitor fairly early in the piece, with a rather unceremonious burning of the Death Note books, the film plunges L into a far more conventional plotline than he experienced throughout the events of Death Note.
In the films opening scenes, L finds himself in a situation where he has 23 days to live. He frantically attempts to solve as many cases as possible in the time he has left, only to stumble upon an emergency call from a small child who has just witnessed the death of L's counterpart F. F had been undercover, investigating the illegal testing of a mutated weaponised virus that can kill infected people in minutes, in an isolated rural village until heavily armed men destroyed the village and hunted him down. Unfortunately the bad guys, an extreme environmentalist group (led by Youki Kudoh, who has had significant cross-over success in the West) who are hell-bent on decimating the world's human population in an effort to reduce pollution, don't have the cure for the virus and are now willing to go to great lengths to track down the scientist that does. Enter the physically ill-prepared, but mentally astute, L to save the day.
The plot is a pretty much a James Bond film if it had Sherlock Holmes in Bond's place and decided to ham up every ridiculous plot turn rather than take it seriously. Needless to say, this is drastically different to the morbid supernatural themes of the Death Note films and that has divided fan opinion of the film. A lot of the backlash towards the film has been levelled at cult director Hideo Nakata (best known for the Ringu/The Ring films) trying too hard to make the film his own and leaving behind the Death Note story. Whilst these criticisms are reasonbly well founded, the film is quite faithful to the nature of the returning characters (even if some are underutilised) and presents an entertaining new plot that further develops those characters. The filmmakers have wisely realised that there isn't a great deal more that could be done with the Death Note concept and, instead of wringing the life out of the franchise with repetitive sequels, aimed at furthering the story of a handful of the film's excellent characters (the idea certainly worked for the Alien franchise, although the connection between films in that case was stronger than it is here).
L: Change The World is a thoroughly entertaining, and slightly silly, follow-up to the cult Death Note saga. Fans beware, however, as the film is of a substantially different style to Death Note.
The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.
The video quality is of a high standard. The image is sharp and features a good level of detail in shadows and dark scenes. A moderate, natural looking, level of grain is present in the video. There is no sign of lov level noise.
The colours in the film are bright and bold. The film uses a wide range of block colours to assemble a slightly catoonish look and the video transfer faithfully renders the look.
There is no sign of any noticeable video artefacts or film artefacts in the transfer.
English subtitles are present for the feature, however they only cover dialogue that is not in English. This is rather unfortunate as there are significant portions of the film spoken in English, but these parts are mostly spoken by Japanese actors with thick accents that are a little hard to understand at time and could have used the subtitling. The subtitles that are there are well timed and appear to paint a good picture of the Japanese dialogue.
This is a RSDL disc. The layer break occurs at 95:26 but was not noticeable on my equipment.
Japanese/English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kbps) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps) audio tracks are present for the film.
The dialogue is at a good level in the mix and is easy to distinguish, however some of the English dialogue is spoken by Japanese actors with heavy accents and can be a little hard to decipher, particularly when it flow directly on from Japanese (without a pause in some cases).
The film features an orchestral/electronic score by Japanese composer Kenji Kawai, who scored the previous Death Note films but is better known for his prolific work for anime films (Patlabor, Ghost in the Shell, Ranma 1/2). It suits the film well and is well presented in the mix, but is generally forgettable.
The surrounds get a decent workout throughout the film, particularly in the action set-pieces of the film. The LFE channel gives the subwoofer a good workout during the action scenes as well as for the many bass-heavy parts of the scofe.
|Surround Channel Use|
A good "making of" featurette that covers pretty much every aspect of production; acting, sets, effects, costuming, art direction. My only real criticeism is that it drags on too long. Some of the best parts are the unintentionally amusing candid parts, such as an interview with actor Ken'ichi Matsuyama as he is wearing a Joy Division T-shirt and neck pillow and trying to have a nap between scenes in a train station - so many cultural cliches packed together it becomes amusing to watch.
A surprisingly honest, though diplomatic and stoic, interview with the film's star. Matsuyama discusses the process of moving the character L away from the Death Note concept and making the film stand on its own, as well as the "unique" approaches to filmmaking taken by Hideo Nakata and the surprises of working with children.
15 bland promotional images. Why bother?
A fairly compelling and slightly artsy theatrical trailer for the film.
Trailers for Death Note (film), Death Note (anime), Kaidan and Dororo follow an annoying anti-piracy clip.
The film is not yet available in Region 1.
There are two Region 3 versions generally available, a bare-bones single disc edition as well as a 2-disc special edition. Both Region 3 editions feature an additional DTS 6.1 audio track as well as Dolby Digital 5.1, but miss the 2.0 track. The two disc special edition lists the following special features, however we are unable to confirm whether they are English subtitled:
Given the high standard of the extras on the Region 4 edition, there is really little reason to look to Region 3 as the extras are comparable on the two editions and the Region 4 edition tailored to an English-speaking audience.
Don't let the connection fool you, L: Change The World is not another Death Note film. It is a spin-off featuring a couple of the same characters in a very different type of film. This is a fun conspiracy action adventure rather than a complex supernatural thriller. L: Change The World is a great movie, but anyone looking for Death Note III will be disappointed.
The video and audio are both of a very high standard. The extras are plentiful and worthwhile.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3, using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|